All UK gaming companies have learned that they will be required to sign up to the national self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP this spring or face the removal of their licence.
The decision has been made by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) as part of its 2020 strategy to target problem gambling, which also includes an end to credit card gambling. All UK gambling firms have been given a date of the end of March to comply with the instruction.
GAMSTOP was developed to cover the online betting industry. It gives customers the opportunity to self-exclude themselves from all online gaming sites, with one action, removing the need to apply to each company individually. Given that there are more than 200 online firms operating in the UK gambling industry, the UKGC see this as a way to make self-exclusion more effective.
Speaking about the decision, the Chief Executive at the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur, said that although the majority of UK-licensed firms were already part of the GAMSTOP scheme, it was important that the coverage became universal. He also added that self-exclusion was only one part of the picture, and that it had to work alongside other tools including blocking software:
“Operators must do everything they can to minimise the risk of gambling related harm. That is why we expect the industry to create safe products, know their customers, understand what they can afford to gamble with and identify when they are experiencing harm and step in.”
The announcement has been made alongside confirmation of a complete ban on betting with credit cards, that will be enforced from April this year, which is the latest in a series of steps taken by the UKGC to improve customer protection in the wake of recent political and media criticism of the industry.